By Jonathan Davies

Alibaba is investing $200m in photo-messaging app Snapchat, according to a source close to the deal, Reuters has reported.

According to Bloomberg, the investment values Snapchat at $15bn - a huge jump from the $3bn offered by Facebook in 2013.

Snapchat is reported to have been seeking new funding of around $500m that would value it at $19bn. If the deal goes ahead, it will be one of Alibaba's biggest investment in the US.

Alibaba's intentions aren't yet clear - Snapchat is a photo-messaging service, whereas Alibaba is a huge ecommerce giant. But it is understood that Alibaba plans to go on an investment spree in the US this year, aimed at making it easier for the US to sell to China's growing middle-class market.